S. Korea seeks U.S. congressional support for trade, investment

SEOUL– South Korean Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun drummed up support from the U.S. Congress on Friday to expand bilateral trade and investment, his office said.

Ahn made the request during a meeting with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in Seoul, where the two noted the achievements of the May summit between Presidents Yoon Suk-yeol and Joe Biden, and discussed ways to deepen their economic ties, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

During the summit, Seoul and Washington agreed to work together to enhance partnerships on “critical and emerging technologies” through the promotion of investment and research and development cooperation, according to their joint statement.

“Related law in the U.S. is crucial for South Korean firms to implement investment plans smoothly,” Ahn told the senator, stressing the need for bills on incentives for investment in the semiconductor sector and visas for professionals, among other things.

Samsung Electronics Co. has been working on a US$17 billion chip fabrication plant in Texas, with a groundbreaking ceremony expected this month.

Last month, Hyundai Motor Group announced the US$10.54 billion investment plan in the U.S. to build an electric vehicle and car battery plant, as well as to develop software for robotics and autonomous driving.

Over the past decade, bilateral trade and investment marked a solid growth on the back of the KORUS Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which came into force in March 2012.

Trade volume jumped 66 percent to $169.1 billion in 2021 from $100.8 billion in 2011. South Korea’s investment in the U.S. between 2012 and 2021 came to $123.5 billion, and the U.S.’ investment in South Korea stood at $47.93 billion during the cited period, according to government data.

Duckworth also met separately with officials and businesspeople affiliated with the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM), and discussed business prospects and economic partnership opportunities.

At the meeting, Duckworth stressed that her state of Illinois is ready for greater investment from and increased exports to partners like South Korea.

“It’s clear that when our nations strengthen our mutual supply chains, we help insulate one another from economic shocks and give each other an even greater competitive edge, so let’s get the ball rolling,” she was quoted as saying by AMCHAM.

Among those present at the meeting were AMCHAM Chairman James Kim, Rep. Lee Sang-min of the Democratic Party and Christopher Del Corso, charge d’ affaires ad interim from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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